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Top Chef Canada Contestants Announced, Premieres April 11

Photo: Top Chef Canada

When Top Chef Canada premieres at 9:00 PM on April 11 on Food Network Canada, our neighbors to the north will be getting 16 cheftestapants to call their very own. Hosted by "celebrated television personality" Thea Andrews and Canadian chef/restaurateur Mark McEwan, the show will feature a mere three lady chefs and 13 dude chefs competing in Toronto for $100,000 (presumably Canadian; US $97,420), in addition to, of course, the title of Top Chef Canada.

Among these brave souls is Vancouver chef Dale MacKay, who is the executive chef of Daniel Boulud's Lumière. It was recently announced that both Lumière and Boulud's other Vancouver restaurant, db Bistro Moderne, will close March 13.

TORONTO, February 28, 2011 – Canadians are about to get served with the country’s fiercest culinary competition of all time. Food Network Canada and Insight Production Company Ltd. revealed today the stellar lineup of Canadian competitors and resident judge who will be appearing in the highly anticipated series Top Chef Canada. The inaugural season of Top Chef Canada will premiere April 11, 2011 at 9pm ET/10pm PT exclusively on Food Network Canada.

Top Chef Canada will challenge 16 competitors’ culinary skills to see who can cut it as Canada’s Top Chef, taking home the grand prize of $100,000 and a GE Monogram kitchen worth $30,000. Hosted by celebrated television personality, Thea Andrews and head judge, chef and restaurateur, Mark McEwan, Top Chef Canada promises the kind of high stakes competition and addictive drama that will inspire viewers to cheer on their favourite competitors each week.

The 16 chosen competitors hail from far and wide across Canada with their own unique culinary backgrounds and expertise. Click on each competitor’s name below to open a link to his or her
Top Chef Canada audition video on Food Network Canada’s YouTube channel.

• Clayton Beadle, 26, Whistler, BC
• Derek Bocking, 30, Montreal, QC
• Darryl Crumb, 29, Winnipeg, MB
• Connie DeSousa, 29, Calgary, AB
• Francois Gagnon, 32, Montreal, QC
• Dustin Gallagher, 28, Toronto, ON
• Steve Gonzales, 35, Toronto, ON
• Jamie Hertz, 31, Nelson, BC
• Chris Kanka, 34, Toronto, ON
• Dale Mackay, 30, Vancouver, BC
• Andrea Nicholson, 28, Toronto, ON
• Rebekah Pearse, 29, Calgary, AB
• Todd Perrin, 40, Quidi Vidi Village, St. John’s, NL
• Rob Rossi, 27, Toronto, ON
• Michael Stauffer, 30, Dundas, ON
• Patrick Weise, 40, Toronto, ON

Joining the cast as resident judge on Top Chef Canada is the revered vanguard of Los Angeles dining and entertaining, proud Toronto native Shereen Arazm. Creator and operator of Tinsel Town’s most respected tables including Italian eatery Terroni and sushi staple Geisha House, Shereen also set Hollywood’s nightlife ablaze owning and operating famed outlets Concorde, El Centro, Shag, Central, and Wonderland. Her successful career was featured in an episode of Women on Top on Slice™ in 2007, the same year that LA Times Magazine’s holiday issue named her one of the four top entertainment hosts in Los Angeles. After having a daughter in 2008 with husband Oren Koules, Shereen returned home to Toronto in summer 2010 ready to take on Canada’s top culinary talent as resident judge on Top Chef Canada. Shereen will be joined by various distinguished guest judges who will be revealed at later dates.

“Over the last 10 years, Food Network Canada has consistently delivered to Canadians the very best entertaining, food-related content,” says Barb Williams, Senior Vice President of Content, Shaw Media. “Top Chef Canada is a successful, proven format that showcases the true wealth and diversity of Canadian culinary talent. We couldn’t be more thrilled to share that with viewers.”

“Top Chef Canada is not just a TV show but a celebration of our Canadian culture,” says John Brunton, Executive Producer, Insight Production Company Ltd. “Our competitors have trained around the world under the watchful eyes of internationally renowned chefs like Daniel Boulud, Gordon Ramsay, Susur Lee among others. We can’t wait for Canada to experience the world class cuisine that we have here at home. In the culinary world, Canadians truly compete on an international stage.”

To keep tabs on what Canadians are saying about Top Chef Canada, check out the official
Top Chef Canada page on Facebook at or follow @TopChefCanada on Twitter.

The first season of Top Chef Canada will premiere April 11, 2011 at 9pm ET/10pm PT exclusively on
Food Network Canada.

· Top Chef Canada is Ready to Be Served [Shaw Media]
· Bittersweet Starring Role for Vancouver Top Chef [Metro]
· All Top Chef Canada Coverage on Eater [-E-]